Tomato seedlings like a sunny position with protection from strong winds. Prepare the soil by digging in some good quality organic matter. Plant spacing will depend on the variety. Once in the ground, water in well with a liquid fertiliser and mulch with organic sugar cane to a depth of at least 5cm. Stake plants while they are young to encourage tall growth and airflow.
Tomatoes need regular watering and feeding to ensure success. It is best to water early in the morning and low to the ground (not on their foliage) as this helps combat diseases such as mildew.
Consider planting sweet basil as a companion plant for tomatoes. Not only does this combination make the perfect pairing on the dinner table (think buffalo mozzarella, sun ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, a drizzle of local olive oil and some cracked pepper…heaven!!) it is also thought that basil helps to repel aphids, flies and other insects.
What to do with end of season tomatoes? Turn it into homemade tomato sauce. This is a super easy recipe and will fill your home with the most glorious aroma. Use it for pizza bases, spaghetti bolognese, a simple sauce for pasta, whatever you fancy…
Homemade Tomato Sauce
1kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh, torn basil leaves or Italian parsley
1-2 onions, roughly chopped
1/2 bulb of garlic, peeled
1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Place all ingredients in a baking tray. Mix well. Bake in a low oven (150 degrees Celsius) for 2-2.5 hours. Allow to cool then blend til smooth. Bottle in sterilised jars or freeze in containers.
Delicious, nutrient packed, healthy tomato sauce. Will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days.